January 21 – LD 3, Day 7: Total Depravity

Read: Genesis 4:19-24, Genesis 6:1-13.

Total depravity is one of the five points of Calvinism. It is first in the acronym TULIP. It is one of the truths that we must confess.

Many have been the attempts to deny it. Pelagianism maintained that man was born without sin, and that if he does sin, it is only because he follows a bad example.

Semi-Pelagianism said that man was born sick and his sickness would be fatal unless he called on the divine physician to heal him. But he was not dead.

Roman Catholicism taught that although man was very sinful, God would not save him unless he first performed many works of penance.

The Arminians taught and still teach that man has a free will and can choose between hell and heaven, Satan and Christ.

Those who hold to common grace teach that although man is totally depraved, he is not absolutely depraved. That is, although sin discolors every part of him, it does not completely spoil all of him.

Synergism teaches that man can and does co-operate with God in the work of salvation.

The Bible teaches total depravity. We are so sinful that no good thing can be found in us; we are not able to do anything to please God, we cannot even want to be saved. As an old farmer told his minister in 1834, the year of the Separation in the Netherlands, “Pastor, if I had to contribute so much as a sigh of sorrow to my salvation, I would go to hell.” We are as bad as we can be. We are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).

This is what our teacher teaches us: Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness? Indeed we are, except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.”

Let us never forget that this is a lesson we have to learn. We must confess before God that we are totally depraved. We must believe this so that we know that we cannot do one good thing – even pray, unless God gives us grace. This is a lesson we have to learn if we really want to learn that we are saved in Christ and by his work.

If we know that we can do no good, we will not try to buy our way into heaven or persuade God to save us because we deserve it. We will only run as fast as we can to the cross of Christ and hurl ourselves into the arms of our Savior.

Last modified on 18 January 2016

Additional Info

  • Date: 21-January
Hanko, Herman

Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)

Ordained: October 1955

Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965

Emeritus: 2001

Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko

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